Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes

This is the recipe I made for Robyn's party that some of you requested. They were so easy it's almost embarrassing to admit.

For the cupcakes:
1 box lemon cake mix
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
4 large eggs

Combine all and bake in mini cupcake pan according to directions on cake box. Cool on rack and then put in freezer for 30 minutes.

When cupcakes are done freezing, use a lemon baller to scoop a small amount of cake from the tops of cupcakes. Fill with lemon curd. I just put it in a ziplock and cut off the corner.

Frosting:

1 teaspoon fresh lemon rind, grated
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 dash salt

Whip all ingredients together until light and fluffy. Pipe on top of cupcakes, covering the lemon curd completely. Enjoy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Aroma of Christmas

This is kind of random, but since I just posted my christmas toffee I thought I should include one of my other favorite things about christmas. Mike's mom gave me this "recipe" after I spent my first christmas with them. It is just a mix of a few things that you keep on the stove and it has the most heavenly smell! Sara is always in charge of making it. She knows just what to do. Try it- you will love it!

“Aroma of Christmas”

3 sticks of cinnamon
3 bay leaves
scant (no more than ¼ C) whole cloves (I usually use a few T)
2 sections lemon (1/2 lemon)
2 pieces orange peel (2 quarters- I usually don't bother peeling it and just throw in the whole orange sections.)

Combine with about a quart of water in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat for as long as you would like. Make sure to keep refilling the water because it evaporates quickly. Change the water and ingredients every few days or so.

English Toffee

This is obviously not a christmas cookie, but this time of year I probably eat more toffee than cookies anyway. This is my Grandma's recipe that she makes every year and I get so excited to make it over the holidays. It is actually pretty simple- you just need an electric skillet. Enjoy!

2 C almonds
1 cup sugar
2 squares butter (no substitutions)
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon Karo syrup
chocolate bars or milk chocolate chips (I use about 3 or 4 Hershey bars or a king size symphony bar)

Roast almonds at 350 for 10 minutes. Then coarsely chop ¾ C of them and finely chop the rest. You will use the coarsely chopped IN the toffee and the finely chopped ON TOP of it! Put aside.
Combine sugar, butter, water and Karo in electric fry pan. Heat at hottest temperature; cook, stirring in one direction until candy becomes thick and caramel colored. (keep a brown paper bag next to the candy- it is ready when the candy is the color of the bag.) Candy should follow spoon. Add almonds (the coarsely chopped ones). Stir well and pour on a well-buttered cookie sheet. Use your spoon to spread it in the pan. Don't make it too thin...it won’t fill out the whole sheet. While still hot, put chocolate on top. When it melts, spread over toffee and sprinkle with finely chopped almonds. Cool overnight. Break in pieces and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Favorite Christmas cookies!

Please post your favorite cookie to make for the holidays! I just posted one of mine, but I'd love to try some new ones this year!

Fudgy Mint Cookies


I got this recipe from an issue of Taste of Home I got long ago. These are the perfect Christmas cookies with the peppermint patties!

1 package Devil's food cake mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 T. water
2 eggs
2 T. confectioners sugar
2 packages (5 oz each) chocolate covered thin mints (like thin peppermint patties)

Combine cake mix, butter and water. Add eggs, mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls, roll in confectioners sugar. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Immediately press thin mint into the center of each cookie. Cool 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Best way to cook your turkey, by far!!!

This is a recipe that I posted last Thanksgiving that you HAVE to use.

This was way yummy. I didn't have organic salt so I used regular, though I don't know what the difference would be. I also think this recipe was used for a regular big bird, somewhere between 12-20 lbs so I cut it in half for the turkey breast we bought.

- One gallon of chicken or vegetable broth (homemade is best, but it’s a pain to make).
- One cup of organic salt (using iodized salt isn’t necessary).
- Four tablespoons of spices: (I like rosemary, thyme, sage, and a little pepper and cinnamon).
- One cup of sugar.
- One gallon of water.

Pour all the ingredients into your biggest stockpot and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and cool to room temp. Wash and clean your turkey thoroughly. Put that bird into your newly made brine recipe and make sure he’s completely covered. Place your brined turkey into the refrigerator overnight or at as long as possible.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sweet and Sour Green Beans

This is a super easy recipe I stole from my sister, Lisa. It is a great alternative to the infamous green bean casserole and has become a staple for the holidays at our house.

3 cans whole green beans
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 pack of bacon
1 onion, sliced

Fry bacon and set on towels to cool. Add sugar and vinegar to bacon grease and let it come to a boil. Pour over green beans. Top with sliced onions and crumbled bacon. Cook at 325, covered. Stir occasionally.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paula Deen's Cranberry-Pineapple Gelatin Salad



Here's another yummy dish to add to your Thanksgiving spread. I'm not a fan of cranberry sauce so this is a great alternative.

2 (3-ounce) packages raspberry gelatin
1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple packet in its own juice
1 (15-ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Topping:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whipped cream
1/4 cup walnuts

Spray a 4-cup gelatin mold or a 9-inch square pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a medium glass mixing bowl, combine the raspberry gelatin and unflavored gelatin. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir with a metal spoon continuously for 2 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water. Add the pineapple and juice, cranberry sauce, and walnuts. Stir with a metal spoon until all ingredients are completely incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

About 1 hour before serving, invert the mold onto a serving platter and allow to sit at room temperature; the salad will release itself and come clean from the mold.

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, whipped cream and walnuts in bowl. Spoon into the center of the mold.


Obviously this will work just fine without a jello mold (do people still use those things?). And I just spread the topping on the whole thing instead of just the middle. I found it to thick to dollop on each piece.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baked Lemon Pasta, and chicken and salad

My sister sent me a link to this recipe blog done by 5 sisters. She's made a bunch of recipes from this site and has loved them all. I was looking at it the other day and came across this dish. It was so different from anything I've had before and so delicious! Jeremy had three helpings and that says a lot! I think I've found a new foodie blog to stalk...
Baked Lemon Pasta
Submitted by Amy ~ www.sisterscafe.blogspot.com
Source: the one and only Pioneer woman

1 pound Thin Spaghetti
4 Tablespoons Salted Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Lemon, Juiced And Zested
2 cups Sour Cream
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt, Or More To Taste
Plenty Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
Extra Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat. Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.) When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end or feel free to add as much as you like.

It was suggested in the recipe on the blog that you serve this with the following chicken.

Lemon Grilled Chicken:
Juice of one lemon (~3 Tb lemon juice)
3 Tb oil
1 tsp minced garlic (~2 large cloves)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 lb chicken breasts

Marinate the chicken overnight. For salad, dice the raw chicken and marinate it that way so there is more surface area to marinate. You can get away with marinating for a shorter amount of time this way. Grilling is best, but cooking in a skillet is great, too.

I put the grilled chicken right in with the pasta, and also made this salad the chicken is supposed to go into, but we had it without the chicken:

Chicken Poppy Seed Salad
Resubmitted by Mindy (Originally submitted by Brittany)
www.sisterscafe.blogspot.com

Salad:
Spinach leaves
Romaine leaves
Grilled chicken, sliced (Best if marinated in Lemon Grilled Chicken Marinade*, but if you don't have time then grill with lots of lemon pepper seasoning)
Red onion, sliced thinly
Crispy bacon, crumbled
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Toasted almonds (or you can sugar the almonds. Put sliced almonds in a pan with lots of granulated sugar (about equal amounts). Cook on medium heat until sugar melts, coating the almonds as they brown.)

*Lemon Grilled Chicken:
Juice of one lemon (~3 Tb lemon juice)
3 Tb oil
1 tsp minced garlic (~2 large cloves)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 lb chicken breasts

Marinate the chicken overnight. For salad, dice the raw chicken and marinate it that way so there is more surface area to marinate. You can get away with marinating for a shorter amount of time this way. Grilling is best, but cooking in a skillet is great, too.


The best part... The Dressing**:

1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tb Maui or Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups canola oil
3 Tb poppy seeds

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a blender, then slowly add the oil, blending until thick. Stir in poppy seeds. Toss all ingredients together with generous amount of dressing before serving.

**This makes a lot of dressing! If you need a really big salad for a party then start with a large bunch of spinach, large head of romaine, 4 chicken breasts, 1 lb bacon, etc. I rarely make a salad that big so that is why there are no "amounts". So have fun with it - you're going to love it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dinner Ideas!

Calling all chefs....or whoever makes dinner at your house! Please post your menu ideas. I usually don't have a problem coming up with the main dish, but the sides are killing me! What combination of foods do you serve for dinner? What would you serve with chicken, roast, pasta, fish, chili, stew, soup, ribs, chops? Please post your whole menu or dream menu.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

You will feel like you have died and gone to heaven with these pancakes! Oh my what an amazing combination this is! It tastes like you are eating banana bread with peanut butter on top. So good!
Chunky Monkey Pancakes
{Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup}
Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 1/2 C flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C buttermilk *
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs canola oil
1 large or extra large egg
2 small-med ripe bananas
1/4 C mini chocolate chips (or reg. chips roughly chopped) tossed with 2 tsp flour
Cooking Spray or butter for pan
1 C maple syrup
1/2 C peanut butter

*As a substitute for buttermilk, place 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 1/2 C measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk.

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined. Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into batter. Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.
For syrup, heat peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add maple syrup and gently whisk to combine. Heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds, whisk, and then set aside. Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with little butter and then pour on pancake batter. Use1/4 C batter for large pancakes (4-6") and 2 T for kid-sized ones (2-3"). Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip. Reheat syrup if necessary and pour over warm pancakes.

Yield: 28-30 2-3" pancakes (using 1/8 C batter measure) 14-15 4-6" pancakes (using 1/4 C batter measure)

Freezer Instructions: Let cooked pancakes cool to room temperature. Place in a single layer in the freezer until frozen and then place pancakes in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Reheat in a microwave or toaster until heated through.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cranberry Sweet Potato Muffins

I cut this recipe out of a magazine years ago but just finally tried it last week. I didn't have high hopes because I can't even remember which magazine and you just never know. But these were so yummy! Perfectly risen, perfect texture and delicious taste! This is a new fall favorite around my house!

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar (i used brown sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes (i opened a can of sweet potatoes and mashed them with a fork, paige ate the rest for dinner)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (i used craisins)
Cinnamon-Sugar

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, sweet potatoes and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in cranberries.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake at 375 (i did it at 350) for 18-22 min. (i always error on the under-done side) or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes.

Homemade Granola

Making this stuff is better than any potpurri or scented candle. It's guaranteed to put you in the fall spirit!

10 cups oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cup coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3 cups chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)

Stir together in very big bowl or stock pot.
In medium pot, stir together remaining ingredients stirring over med heat. Do not boil! When everything is dissolved and warmed, pour syrup over the oat mixture and stir until well coated.

SYRUP
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp vanilla

Spread over 3-4 jelly roll pans or cookie sheets and bake at 300 for about 20 min. Stir occasionally. Cool and add raisins or dried fruit if desired. Totally enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

PB &J cookies

This recipe is from an old friends blog. It's all about baking and beer, check it out here. It goes against everything in me to not put a hershey kiss in the middle of these guys, but try it with the jam, they are divine!

PB&J Cookies
makes about 3 dozen
1/3 Cup unsalted butter
1/2 Cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1/2 Cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 Cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Strawberry preserves or jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar and egg with an electric mixer until creamy. Sprinkle in the flour and baking soda, mixing well to combine. Roll into one inch balls and place 2 inches apart. Use your thumb to make a well in the center of each cookie, flattening each ball as you go. Fill the well in each cookie with strawberry preserves. Bake on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Best Brownies

The name doesn't lie! These brownies are honestly the best I have ever had. I actually got the recipe from Stacy Torfin a while back after she brought them over for our family. They really are so good!

1 ½ C. Flour
2 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Cocoa
Mix together then add;
3 eggs (beaten) stir lightly
While this is being done melt 2 cubes of butter in the microwave
Then add 1-1 ½ Tbsp. Vanilla (to the butter)
Pour into mixture and mix well
Add 1-2 large scoops of Marshmallow Cream and stir till swirled.
Pour in a 9x13 (sprayed) glass pan
Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes

There you go! I like it with 2 scoops of mallow cream and they are best a bit under-baked, you know what I mean? I also like them a little thicker so I used a pan that was just a little smaller than a cake pan.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Peach Ice Cream

  • It's peach season here in the east so you can make this YUMMY treat with "nature's candy," fresh peaches! I cut this recipe in half and there was still too much for my counter-top ice cream maker, so we get to make more tonight! But I bet this would be perfect if you have a big ice cream maker that takes ice and salt!

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 10 fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until smooth; puree peaches in blender or food processor and stir 5 cups of puree into egg mixture. Stir in cream, half-and-half, vanilla and salt and mix well.
  2. Pour mixture into freezer canister of ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

(I wisked together the eggs, cream, half & half, vanilla and salt in a bowl. I put the chopped peaches and sugar in the blender and then poured some of the milk mixture in to blend them all up.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lemon Cheesecake

From my new favorite recipe site, My Kitchen Cafe. It was light and refreshing and totally worth all of the effort.

The Best {No-Bake} Lemon Cheesecake
*Note: the cheesecake can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Also, it is really important to have the cream cheese at room temperature. If it is too cold, it won't mix well and there will be a lot of lumps.


*Serves 12


Crust:
9 whole rectangular graham crackers (for about 1 1/2 cups crushed)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


Lemon Curd:
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream


Filling:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
1 envelope (2 3/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 pounds (3 bars) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, room temperature


For the crust: preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are finely ground. Add the butter and lemon zest and pulse until combined. Alternately, the graham crackers can be crushed in a resealable bag with a rolling pin and then poured into a bowl where the zest and butter can be stirred in. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust until it is lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack before filling.


For the curd: while the crust is cooling, whisk the egg, egg yolk, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and pudding-like, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cream. Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or sieve into a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.


In a small bowl, put the 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let it stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture until it is bubbling around the edges and the gelatin dissolves, about 30 seconds. Set aside.


For the filling: In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the cream and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the gelatin mixture and 1/4 cup of the refrigerated lemon curd. Beat until the mixture is smooth and airy, about 3 minutes.


Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top. Following the photos below, pour thin lines of remaining curd on top of the cake and lightly drag a pairing knife or skewer through the lines to create a marble appearance. I found it wasn't quite as easy as I thought to "pour" the lemon curd into lines. I kind of scooped it out of the cup onto the cheesecake and spooned it into lines. It doesn't have to be perfect since the imperfections are somewhat hidden after you drag through the lines.


Refrigerate the cheesecake until set, at least 6 hours. Remove the sides of the pan, cut into slices and serve.


Guiltless Alfredo Sauce


How funny Mandi! Great minds think alike :) We just made this recipe last night for the missionaries. It was amazing! You totally could not tell it was low fat. I grilled some chicken I had marinated in italian dressing and tossed it in with the pasta. I'll have to do a taste comparison with Mandi's!
Guiltless Alfredo Sauce from Our Best Bites

2 C low-fat milk
1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves
1 C grated Parmesan cheese

Toss the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender. Process until smooth and set aside.
In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Stand above the pan (but not close enough to scald your face) and inhale. Ahhh...butter and garlic. Okay, now get cooking again. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don't want to burn it. It should be nice and bubbly like this:

Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

When it's nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fettucini Alfredo

This is one of those recipes that my family has had forever and loves. It is very simple and very good. Now- beware! You are basically going to be eating straight cream, cheese and butter over pasta, but that is why it is so good, right? We usually add shrimp but leaving it without is still good.

Fettucini Alfredo

¼ C butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 C fresh mushrooms, sliced/optional
4 C heavy cream
½ C fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 lb pasta

Saute garlic and mushrooms in butter. Add cream and bring to rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer sauce. Add cheese right before tossing with noodles and serving.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Double Chocolate Mousse Torte


I have found a new cooking blog that I am falling in love with My Kitchen Cafe. This girl has some amazing recipes, one of which is this one. This was one yummy cake!

Cake:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used half bittersweet, half semisweet)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Mousse:
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated at room temperature
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
(it is important the chocolate for this mousse layer is chopped finely or it won’t melt completely when added to the warm egg yolks)
1/2 cup sugar

Topping:
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 cups fresh raspberries

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; dust with sugar. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt, then flour. Pour batter into the springform pan. Bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), 30-35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack (the center of the cake may fall slightly). Cover and chill while making mousse.

For mousse:
Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken – mine did not but it was very thick like custard or pudding). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside. Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of cornstarch in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over the
cooled cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream and powdered sugar in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte. Top whipped cream with raspberries.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hamburger Buns

From Our Best Bites I made these for the fourth of July and they were really good! It makes your burgers so much more gourmet!

1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4-5 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg, separated
2 Tbsp. cold water

Combine yeast, water, and sugar in large mixing bowl and allow to stand 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add salt, vegetable oil, and egg yolk (set white aside for later) and combine. Add 3 c. flour and mix well until combined. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely sticks to your finger. Knead, either by hand or in mixer (my personal and very lazy choice) for another 2-3 minutes. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour 45 minutes.

Punch down dough. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. For a loaf of bread, shape into loaf and place on greased cookie sheet. For buns or hoagies, divide equally into 8-10 (or even 12, if you want smaller buns when you're done, and let's face it, who doesn't want smaller buns??) pieces and shape as desired. Use a scale if you have one to get equal-sized buns.

It's okay if they touch (or will touch after having risen). Cover and allow to rise another 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Keep an eye on things--if they seem like they're getting so big that they might collapse, hurry and get them into the oven.

Preheat oven to 375. Mix egg white with water and brush over dough. Bake for 10 minutes and repeat brushing the dough with the egg wash.


Bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until bread is golden brown and your house smells like heaven.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lasagna Soup

This soup is so good! Tastes like lasagna but fresher.

1 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
6 c chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 oz fusilli pasta (spirals)
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Sautee sausage in large pot over medium heat, breaking into small pieces, until sausage is no longer pink. Drain excess fast from pot. Add onions and sautee until softened, about 6 min. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 min. Add tomato paste and saute until rusty brown, about 5 ,in. Add tomatoes with juice, broth and bay leaves. Bring soup to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 min.

Add pasta, then increase heat and bring to boil. Boil until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves, then stir in basil. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.

In small bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt and pinch of pepper. Mix well. To serve. place about 1 1/2 Tbs of cheese mixture in bowl, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and pour soup on top. So yummy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lemon Bar Trifle

Here is the recipe from enrichment night. Enjoy!

Lemon Bar Trifle

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted

LEMON LAYER:
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups cold water
3 egg yolks, beaten
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

CREAM CHEESE LAYER:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

In a small bowl, combine flour and pecans; stir in butter. Press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and flour. Stir in water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the lemon juice, butter and lemon peel.
Transfer to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Cover surface with waxed paper; refrigerate until chilled.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Crumble the baked pecan mixture; set aside 1/2 cup for topping.
Just before serving, in a 3-qt. trifle bowl, layer 1 cup each pecan mixture, lemon mixture and cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with reserved pecan mixture. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Salad

1 lb small red potatoes, quartered
2 medium ears sweet corn
1/2 lb mushrooms, halved
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 lb aspargus, cut into 2" lengths
1 med sweet red pepper, cut in strips
1 sweet yellow onion, cut into chunks
1/4 cup olive
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

*2 cups cubed french bread
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

In a large bowl, combine first 7 ingredients. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out on baking pan and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
For dressing, heat olive oil in small sauce pan over med heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and let them infuse the oil. If the oil is too hot and anything turns dark brown or black, scoop them out! Let the oil cool a little and then whisk in the vinegar.
In same large bowl used for veggies, combine cubed bread, tomatoes, feta, and basil. Then the slightly cooled veggies. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Serve immediately, but I liked it even more later that night when the kids had gone to bed!

*I didn't have any french bread, but I did have some left over texas toast bread. I cut it into chunks, sprayed them with Pam, sprinkled seasoned salt over them, and then baked them at 400 for about 10 minutes. I am surprised how yummy the bread was in the salad!!! Don't skip the bread!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Yummy eats!

Irresistible Granola Bars
(I mean it, this is all I ate yesterday)



2 1/2 c rice krispies cereal
2 c oats
1/2 c raisins or chocolate chips
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c honey
1/2 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix oats, cereal and raisins/chips in bowl. Set aside. Bring sugar and honey in saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix well. Pour over cereal mixture. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Voila!

*variations: craisins, coconut, crumble and use as cereal.



Pavlova


4 eggs whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar

Beat egg whites in bowl until very stiff. Slowly beat in sugar--if you do it too quickly the whites will fold and will not set up. Sprinkle cornstarch and vinegar, and fold into whites. Put on greased foil on cookie sheet as either a 7 in circle or small individual shells. Bake at 250 for 1 hour 10 min. Turn oven off and let cool inside. DO NOT OPEN OVEN during process or may not work. After cool, serve with fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi or whatever comes to mind) and whipped cream. You'll LOVE it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling

Who knew that you could make frosting without powdered sugar? I didn't, until I made this frosting and it was so yummy on top of a chocolate cake! It reminded me of the middle of a Hostess cupcake. I just baked the batter for my chocolate crockpot cake in a 9 x 13 at 350 for 45-50 minutes and then slathered this on top when it was cool. Super yum!

recipe by ourbestbites.com

3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)
1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. I think this is the critical point for any of you who have had problems with this recipe. I have a feeling people are under-cooking this part. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens!

You will be scared because it will look like a weird goopy mess at first and you'll wonder what on earth you did wrong. Keep beating and something amazing happens. It goes from that goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy.

Use it to fill cupcakes or other pastries, or as a frosting on top. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)

One batch makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes with BIG tops (like the one below, or larger). If you're just spreading a little on top, it will do 24.


After trouble-shooting with a lot of people, here are some helpful Notes:

1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.

2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!


3. Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.

There is also a chocolate version on the same site that I haven't tried yet, but I'm sure it is just as yummy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yo, yo, ladies!

I actually learned something last night at our enrichment about blogging! I figured out how to categorize all of our recipes so they are easier to find! Please take a look at the column on the right and be sure to add a label to the bottom of all of your future submissions so they won't get lost in the archives. Some recipes may fit into more than one category, so be sure to include whatever applies. Thanks!

Grape Salad


Here is the grape salad recipe that so many of you have asked about. Enjoy!



Grape Salad

Ingredients

2 lbs green seedless grapes
2 lbs red seedless grapes

8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, to taste
(A lot of the time I only make half of the cream cheese mixture)

Topping Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar, packed, to taste
1 cup crushed pecans, to taste
(I usually only make half of this as well)

Directions

1 Wash and stem grapes.
2 Set aside.
3 Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla by hand until blended.
4 Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving bowl.
5 For topping: Combine brown sugar, and crushed pecans.
6 Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely.
7 Chill overnight.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze


This may be the best banana bread I have ever had! I think it's the sour cream...

adapted by Our Best Bites from Cooking Light

2 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sugar
1/4 C (4 Tbs) real butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
1/4 C sour cream or plain yogurt
3 Tbs apple juice or milk*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C coconut

Topping: 2 Tbs additional coconut
Glaze: 1/2 C powdered sugar whisked with 1 1/2 Tbs fresh lime juice

*as in: don't go buy apple juice just for this recipe. If you don't already have some, just use milk!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs and beat to combine. Add banana, sour cream or yogurt, apple juice (or milk), and vanilla. Beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat at a low speed until just combined. Stir in 1/2 C coconut. Pour batter into a 9x5" loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle additional 2 Tbs coconut on top. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until a knife or skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Note: Check bread after about 40 minutes. If the top has browned and the coconut pieces are looking toasty, cover top of bread lightly with a piece of foil. Continue baking until done. When done, remove pan from oven. Let cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove from pan. Whisk powdered sugar and lime juice together for the glaze and then drizzle over top. Cool for another 15 minutes before slicing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Garlic-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

I made this yummy tenderloin for Valentines Day and loved it! Even Ethan, our vegetarian, said it wasn't too bad. It's from Our Best Bites (my new favorite website).



1 large or 2 medium or small pork tenderloins
2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves (strip them from the woody stem first)
2 1/2 Tbsp. coarse mustard (I used Dijon mustard and it was so good!)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
A few turns of pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Rinse pork tenderloin in cool water and trim any excess fat or the silvery membrane on the meat. Pat dry and place on the prepared baking sheet. You are supposed to bake it until it reaches 160 degrees inside, but I don't have a meat thermometer so you have to watch it. One tenderloin took about 30 min while the other took about 45. Cook up and enjoy!

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce

Another Pioneer Woman recipe. If you like blue cheese you will drool over this sauce. I made this for Valentine's day and everyone loved it. I'm going to eat the leftovers with a spoon...

Prep Time: 5 MinutesCook Time: 15 MinutesDifficulty: EasyServings: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 whole Ribeye Steaks
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Very Large Yellow Onion, Sliced
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ cups Crumbled Blue Cheese
Preparation Instructions

Salt and pepper both sides of the steaks. Grill in 2 tablespoons butter until medium rare.

Saute onions in 4 tablespoons butter over high heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until dark and caramelized. Reduce heat to simmer and pour in cream. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until reduced by half. Stir in blue cheese until melted. Serve steaks on generous portion of sauce.

Faint.